US Officials Stunned at Gadhafi's $30 Billion Stash They Were Able to Freeze

Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 09:57 AM

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Treasury Department officials looking to freeze Libyan assets were astonished at the amount of money Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi had stashed in U.S. banks. They expected to find $100 million but instead turned up nearly $30 billion, The Washington Post reported.

During the 72 hours before President Barack Obama issued an order freezing Libyan assets, government officials scrambled to identify those holdings. Working with financial firms and employing the global electronic network governments use to move state assets, government officials identified more than $29.7 billion in Libyan assets in the United States, the Post reported.

Most of the money was in one bank, which Treasury refused to identify. The money frozen in the United States is a significant blow to Libya, which had a gross domestic product of $62 billion in 2009. British officials have seized more than $19 billion in Libyan assets, according to the Post.

David S. Cohen, acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Gadhafi is still “paying mercenaries. He’s paying his troops. He’s in a cash-intensive business. And not having access to the Libyan Investment Authority assets, the Central Bank of Libya assets, other assets that he and his children have overseas, is going to be a problem for him,” the Post reported.

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